Dr O’Keefe has worked in community with sex and/or gender diverse (SGD) groups of people for five decades. She is a passionate researcher, author, therapist and political campaigner for the right and dignity of people from SGD groups.
You need counselling around your intersex issues or dealing with difficult situations.
It’s really frustrating when other people and professionals tell you you’re imaging the difficulties that come with being intersex or sex diverse. There are even those who tell you it’s all in your head and you should just forget it or stop pretending.
Then there are times when you see a GP, explain how your body is different and your situation; they look at you blank and have no idea what you’re talking about. They may start talking to you about gender when you are talking about your physical sex.
As a health care professional, I offer a safe, positive place for you to talk in confidence and be listened to with great respect. Being intersex myself, having had to transitioned when I was 15-years-old because I was forced to live as wrong sex for me, I understand many of the issues you may face.
Some of us look and sound different from others and many of us just pass as male or female and identify as such. We are as different as the clouds in the sky which is really Ok and natural. We are neither right or wrong, just different.
You might have discovered you were intersex when you were young or even later in life. Perhaps you may always have known or have only just discovered your differences. Whichever, it can sometimes be isolating because the people around you may not understand or not ever want to talk about it.
I remember when doing some research, one intersex person said that for the first time in their life, when they meet other intersex people, they felt they just didn’t have to explain themself.
Many difficulties can arise for us around our physical issues and the medical support we may need which can be life-long or short term. It can at times be very stressful and expensive and that medical help is not an option in many cases because without it we would be sick.
We are not just our intersex conditions because for all of us that may manifest differently and give rise to varying treatments. You may even be trying to live with the consequence of the wrong medication that was given to you or unwanted surgeries as a child.
You might have confusion around your identity, particularly as other people often pressure you to fit in with everyone else, including parents or other family members. Suddenly finding out you cannot have children can be a blow and you might not know how to cope with that and how it effects your relationships. That confusion can render you anxious, depressed, ever at times having suicidal thoughts.
There can also be the stresses around your legal situation and the hoops you have to regularly jump through and because of silly and ignorant legal reasons you are denied your full legal rights. Discrimination can be emotionally and mentally devastating when you encounter it because at times the law does not protect you.
As well as helping you be you, find your way, I always help people be more resilient and stronger to live your life the way is right for you.
For help call our clinic in Sydney or we can connect on line where ever you are in the world.